Kids constantly learn at home in their everyday exchanges with you.
You may be pleasantly surprised at how much your child is learning or has learned from you or at home – it’s just that it’s happening in a different way.
“ No less than the Queensland College of Teachers has identified that children learn when they spend quality time with their parents – learning happens all the time at home but in a different way to school-based learning.”
Take reading for example. If you read to your child – a book, a newspaper, a takeaway menu – or they read to you, that’s great. Even better if you can start a conversation around it – what’s your favourite character and why, or what’s your favourite pizza and why don’t you like anchovies?
What’s your favourite character in Hairy Maclary (the “Noo Zulland” dog from Donaldson’s Dairy)? For mine it’s Schnitzel von Krumm “with a very low tum”. Why? Because he keeps his ear (both of them in fact) to the ground. Bitzer Maloney “all skinny and bony” comes close – got to love an underdog, although perhaps Schnitzel is the classic underdog? Years after we first introduced our kids to that classic children’s book by Lynley Dodd we’re still talking about that cast of misfit dogs.
Maths is a bit different. You may not get far engaging your child about why they love maths but you will hook them in with a mathematical game or puzzle. About how many litres are there in the swimming pool and what would it weigh? How could we work out our car’s fuel consumption? How much pasta do we need to cook for four people?
Finding ways to use maths in everyday life and applying it in useful ways makes it relevant and fun and these are absolute prerequisites for learning to occur. You will be demonstrating ways in which maths is useful and your kids might be able to demonstrate what they have been taught at school that allows them to nut out the problem.
“No-one is asking parents to be teachers but that doesn’t mean parents can’t teach their kids lots of interesting stuff. Chances are you are already doing it.”
Here are some tips for creating a supportive home learning environment.
HOW SCHOOLS CAN HELP
- Contact your child’s teacher or talk to the principal if you’re concerned about your child falling behind. Your child’s teacher and school are there to support you and your family through this time.
- Each school will have plans in place to support students who may need additional assistance. Speak to your child’s teacher or principal if you believe further support may be needed.
Andrew McKenzie is the Manager – Governance and Engagement at Cairns Catholic Education